Ronald Benudiz My love of running began almost by accident, as my high school announced they were having a Cross-Country meeting and I decided to attend, even though I did not know much about the sport. I knew of Dave Wottle, Frank Shorter, and Pre- from watching the Olympics. I joined the Cross-Country team at Gahr High School and was on the team from 1975–1979.
My memories of running include struggle, pain, and satisfaction. All still apply today! My struggle to try and finally make the Varsity cross-country team turned out to be a blessing in my life. As it taught me the importance of hard work, and to always strive to improve myself. These core values have been essential motivating factors in my life from then until now and underlie my success in every facet of my life.
Personally, my most prominent memory of running during those times was at the age 17, when I learned firsthand what it meant to “hit the wall,” at the 20-mile mark of the Palos Verdes marathon. I slowed to a walk and jog to complete the race, and was incredibly pleased to see that my race time ended up being 3:34,
I took a few years off running, then in 1989-90 my 17-year-old sister asked me to run the 1990 Los Angeles Marathon with her. It was a struggle, but I finished, and my time was 4:45.
Thirty years later, I received a wake-up call to return to fitness. I had been gaining weight over the years, and tests on my heart revealed mild plaque and calcification. I began walking, a lot! In a 12-month period, I walked 5,970 miles and took 13 million steps. I walked off forty-five pounds. On April 26, 2020, when I reached 165 pounds, I gave myself permission to start jogging. Since then, I have used a combination of stretching, nutrition, Pilates, strength training, physical therapy, occasional massage, and rest to continue my training.
On July 24, 2021, I ran my inaugural master’s race in Ames, Iowa. It was the 800 Meters, and my time was 2:42.53. I missed getting into the 60-64 All American Standard by 2.5 seconds!
On October 9, 2021, I ran the Vegas Senior Games 800-meter race, and finished in first place, winning my first race ever. I met the All-American standard for the 60-64 age group. My time was 2:38.45.
My current goal is to run 800 Meters sub 2:25, so I can run in the World Championships in Finland, in July 2022!